For some student-athletes, leadership comes innately in different ways. Some may have a gift when it comes to verbal communication; giving pep talks and supporting words to teammates in order to bring out their very best. Others may exemplify leadership by their actions in practice and on the field, which motivate others to raise their level of performance.
In mid November, the NCAA hosted an event that helped student athletes hone their ability to lead, and define it in their own way. The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum allowed teams of approximately 30 student-athletes, coaches and administrators to probe the topic more deeply with one another.
“The athletes and attending conference/campus representatives were eager to learn, lead and engage with each other. Delivering the program reemphasized the profound importance of leadership programming and peer connection within today’s society,” said Sable Lee, Assistant Director of NCAA Leadership Development. Via NCAA.org
The four day interactive seminar allowed all that participated the chance to bounce ideas off of one another, and look at critical topics related to leadership that may not always be highlighted, such as mental health, emotional intelligence and crucial conversations.
The NCAA did not hold such an event in 2020, so this was the first time in two years that the young student-athletes had the ability to congregate in this setting. Not only was the environment important to discuss traditional leadership topics, but it was also likely interesting for individuals to share their thoughts about what it means to lead during such an uncertain time like the pandemic.
“In four days, I was able to completely break down everything that I thought I knew about myself, my leadership philosophy, my values, my beliefs, what I thought was right and wrong, said Kennesaw State senior Aaron Goodwin. “I was able to strip it all down, place it in front of me and rebuild a whole new foundation.” Via NCAA.org
While the growth of the student-athletes in a setting like this is definitely important to highlight, this event can be a valuable place for coaches to learn a thing or two as well. The concept of “the modern athlete” is often brought up, and it can be crucial for a coach to learn how to best connect with his or her current crop of players.